Buying Real Estate From Abroad During the COVID Pandemic
Over the last 10 years, I have shown real estate in Israel to lots of clients, both local Israelis and people who live all around the world, and have found that there really is no one rule of thumb for the job. Every family is unique and so are their needs when it comes to purchasing a home; what works for one family might be way off for another!
Some people look at loads of properties, maybe even more than once, and really take their time to make the decision. Others can look at one property and want to buy it straight away. It is important to know this about yourself as a buyer, and to be honest with yourself and your real estate agent when making such a big decision - especially given that COVID has limited our ability to travel to see homes in person.
Over the last year we have seen more and more families wanting to make the move to Israel, either because of COVID safety or political tension. The demand for homes in Jerusalem is particularly high and will continue to rise, despite the travel bans and quarantine lockdowns. Real estate sales have actually gone up, with purchases from abroad making up a good number of them!
Purchasing a home from abroad is definitely not for everyone, though it is completely possible if you have the right team and know your decision-making style. You should have a team that you completely trust to advocate on your behalf; this includes a real estate agent, an attorney, and any friends or family members that you have in Israel that can be your eyes and ears here. It is a very involved process, but it can be done when the client-agent relationship is one of trust and communication. Your attorney will play a very important role in helping you through the due diligence process, which is completed before signing a contract. Your attorney will also help you through the process of signing a contract from abroad using an apostille service.
We recently sold a unit to a lovely family that had tried to find a home on 3 previous occasions with no luck. They decided to search once again, out of concern for prices rising. We had many conversations in great detail about everything involved in a foreign purchase, and together with family members sent on their behalf, we visited the unit they wanted about five times before closing on it. The family has yet to see the apartment for themselves, but they are now set to move into their beautiful new home within the coming years!
I am extremely honest with all of my clients, and want to guide them to do what is in their best interest. Sometimes, I am able to work closely with a client to get them everything they need! Others, I have to say that I don’t think it would be a good idea for them to purchase from abroad, and it would be better to wait until they can see it for themselves. The ability to successfully navigate the process of purchasing from abroad is definitely dependent on individual circumstances and can be done with the right team!